Farm Bill Slows Down in the Senate

This is the second year in a row farmer's fields are suffering from severe drought conditions.

Slow downs in the Senate are preventing the 2007 Farm Bill from passing, leaving many farmers wondering how they will stay afloat without the financial support they need.

Farmers in the Wiregrass continue to suffer from severe drought conditions and now, a farm bill designed to help more farmers irrigate their fields is losing support in Congress.

William Birdsong, with the Wiregrass Research & Extension Center said, "We need assistance for farmers to begin irrigation in Alabama."

Local farmers need irrigated fields to offer more stable crop yields from year to year and to keep up with surrounding states.

Birdsong added, "Georgia has 1.5 million acres that are irrigated, but Alabama has only 200,000."

Alabama receives between 50 and 60 inches of rain a year and farming experts say one provision in the 2007 Farm Bill could help farmers distribute the rainfall more equally.

"The initiative in Alabama is to create reservoirs to harvest rainfall throughout the year for during drought periods," Birdsong said.

Alabama Congressman Terry Everett proposed the farm bill to help farmers suffering from the drought, but is concerned that support for the bill is dwindling. "I am continuing to fight for the farm bill, but we have been delayed," he said.

If the bill doesn't pass through Congress, a 2008 Farm Bill will be proposed next year.

The lack of irrigation in the Wiregrass is really a hindrance to us economically.

Georgia produces a lot more vegetables than we do here because they have so many acres of irrigated fields, which allows their crops to prosper.

It can cost between $100,000 and $200,000 dollars to irrigate a field here in the Wiregrass.

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